Teamwork matters: Why teamwork is vital to remote and hybrid teams

three colleagues building an architectural plan showing why team work matters

In the aftermath of the pandemic, what it means to be a part of a team, and how to work within a team have shifted dramatically. With the new models of hybrid and remote work, crucial elements to effective teamwork are being lost.

Though it may be more challenging to get it right, it doesn't mean that effective teamwork is a thing of the past. F4S has put together the following resource for explaining why teamwork is important in the workplace, and how to harness it in remote, hybrid, and traditional workplaces, alike.

Table of contents
What is teamwork?
How to improve teamwork skills
Unlock teamwork with F4S
How does diversity affect teamwork?
Frequently asked questions

What is teamwork?

Teamwork refers to the systems, ethics and frameworks a group of individuals operate within while working together toward a common goal. Through effective collaboration and communication, a successful team leverages each member's unique skills and abilities to succeed in their shared goal.

6 reasons why is teamwork important in the workplace

They say that teamwork makes the dream work. And like many old, (some might say cheesy) sayings, this can be validated by both history and science.

According to anthropologist Adriana Christiano, teamwork is a deeply entrenched aspect of our psychology that has been celebrated throughout human history.1 It's why working within a team is often intrinsically rewarding, and why so many of us seek it out.

This tendency is continuous across many different human endeavors, and the modern workplace is no exception. Jose Yong writes:2

"There are important commonalities between teams working in very different environments, whether these teams are scouting the outskirts of the land, exploring the frontiers of the universe, or solving problems in a corporate office."

Given the role it's played in our history, it shouldn't be surprising that the research into teamwork in workplace settings yields a myriad of benefits.

Here are the top benefits of teamwork in your workplace.

  1. Drives innovation

With a collaborative spirit and limited friction between a diverse group of individuals, teams can access a broader range of insights and perspectives. With this kind of superpower, innovative ideas are bound to follow.

Effective teamwork, marked by open dialogue, allows team members to freely challenge each other's assumptions, explore unconventional solutions and tackle difficult tasks in a safe and constructive space.

A recent study on the relationship between the quality of teamwork and innovation revealed some interesting findings: of 145 software development projects included in the sample, teams were given a rank on their ability to do the following:3

  • Communication
  • Coordination
  • Balance of member contributions
  • Mutual support
  • Effort
  • Cohesion

Unsurprisingly, the quality of teamwork based on the above metrics was positively correlated with the creative thinking skills of the team. So if you're looking for innovative ideas, fostering teamwork is a great place to start.

  1. Improves morale

For employees who are motivated by Affiliation and working in a Group Environment, team collaboration and the act of working together on shared goals is deeply rewarding, and provides a strong sense of togetherness and meaning.4 When a team is effectively calibrated so that individual employees' differences are celebrated, people actually love turning up and being involved.

  1. Provides opportunities for growth

When teams work closely together, opportunities for both personal and professional growth present themselves in ways that working individually doesn't. Take brainstorming, for example. Provided a safe space has been carved out for "no bad ideas" and a "yes and…" approach that allows fresh ideas to be put forward, individuals can stretch their creative thinking and abstract reasoning abilities in a way that working in a Solo Environment seldom can.

Or, for employees who have a competitive nature, fostering healthy competition between employees can motivate employees to sharpen their skills. For instance, sales teams often thrive on healthy competition as to who can achieve top numbers. Provided this doesn't merge into more toxic and overly combative competition, these kinds of targets can see employees push themselves towards bigger goals, foster personal growth and the sharpening of skill sets.

  1. Improves productivity, effectiveness and efficiency

With each employee working to their strengths, roles clarified and strong, effective communication, productivity levels are sure to increase. Studies5 have shown that team leaders who prioritize team collaboration have seen productivity levels significantly increase, as a result.

So if you want to build strong teams where employees go the extra mile, developing a sense of teamwork among employees will get you there.

  1. Boosts retention rates

When employees find their groove in working within a well-oiled team-machine, it's unsurprising that they're less likely to seek other opportunities. As stated above, to many types of people, effective teamwork just feels good. Being a part of an effective team scratches that itch for a sense of belonging.

It follows that a sense of effective teamwork is associated with higher retention rates in the workplace. In fact, 37% of employees state that teamwork is very important to them in relation to their overall levels of job satisfaction. While not a majority, note that 27% of employees who quit their job cite a lack of connection to their team as a key reason.6

So, if you're looking to reduce rates of employee turnover, fostering a sense of teamwork is an excellent place to start.

  1. Enhances problem solving

Diverse teams from different educational backgrounds, who have different skill sets, motivations and workstyles, often have everything they need to solve complex problems. But without the ability to leverage the entire team and their unique contributions, a lot of the pieces needed to solve these puzzles don't quite come together.

Smooth, effective teamwork skills allow the free-flow sharing of ideas between diverse teams. A lack of teamwork keeps each individual within their own silos of expertise, and the solutions that could be pieced together never materialize.

A study into the impact of what is known as Collective Orientation, (which closely mirrors F4S's Affiliation and Shared Responsibility traits) demonstrated that teams that scored high on this measure perform better on complex problem-solving tasks.7

How to improve teamwork skills

With the benefits of teamwork explained, now, we'll discuss some things you can do to build a strong teamwork environment in your workplace and improve employee performance. While remote or hybrid teams may feel more isolated, the very same principles of building a solid team ethic still applies.

Practice active listening

Active listening cultivates teamwork by demonstrating respect and empathy towards team members. When individuals feel heard and understood, they are more likely to collaborate effectively. Active listeners absorb ideas, concerns, and feedback, which not only strengthens interpersonal bonds but also supports problem-solving and decision-making on complex tasks. It fosters an inclusive atmosphere where diverse viewpoints are valued, enhancing team cohesion and collective performance.

Encourage collaboration

As a leader, it's up to you to shape the collaborative culture in your team. Encouraging open communication and creating norms around how teams communicate in meetings are things you can do to make collaboration a core part of how your team functions.

Here's where you might want to assess how you approach projects.

Are responsibilities shared, or are they taken on individually? Are you encouraging team members from disparate fields to collaborate on shared projects? All these things have an impact on your team's ability to collaborate.

Collaboration can also be fostered by the tools a team uses.

Project management and communication platforms make collaboration among team members easy. Choosing the right tools for your team can be challenging, though.

Here are our guides to our picks for the best project management and communication tools available:

Discover the communication style of your meeting attendees
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Express appreciation

Appreciation nurtures a positive and supportive work culture that supports high-performing teams. When leaders acknowledge followers' efforts and achievements, it serves as a constant reminder that their insights, individual strengths and contributions are welcome. Remember, an employee who has valuable insights but feels unappreciated may not have the confidence to share them.

For this reason, it's important to make appreciation a core aspect of what you do as a leader. Valuable contributions may be left untapped when employees don't feel comfortable and safe in sharing them.

Celebrate difference and diversity

When a wide range of differences and diversity are celebrated, employees feel free to offer their unique contributions and creative ideas. Not only does this foster a sense of community, research8 has shown that it gives employees the sense of psychological safety necessary to give all of themselves to the task. It's also a great way to prevent your team becoming an echo chamber of similar opinions and approaches.

With a culture of celebrating differences, you're poised to be able to leverage the many different backgrounds, individual ideas and skills your team has to offer.

Unlock teamwork with F4S

The first step toward building a collaborative team environment and better meeting business goals is understanding what makes your team unique. That's where F4S comes in. Based on 15 years of evidence-based research, we've identified 48 unique workstyle motivations that impact our sense of team and how we work together.

F4S team dashboard helps with teamwork by showing team dynamics
F4S team dashboard

Starting with a simple, free assessment, you can view your team's affinities, and measure your team's similarities and differences, identify and resolve conflicts, and find opportunities for collaboration and organizational efficiency.

How does diversity affect teamwork?

In short, diverse, high-performing teams achieve better outcomes. But what is meant by diversity? At F4S, we like to think of it as cognitive diversity. This can stem from ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status at an individual level. It can also refer to neurodiversity, or simply just different approaches and motivations.

Diversity does make decision-making a slower, more laborious process. Different viewpoints being taken into account, lived experiences and perspectives can clash, but if we learn to respect, value and celebrate these differences, F4S's research has shown the extra time and effort is more than worth it.

Teams that lack diversity might make faster decisions, but because they've been exposed to a more limited range of approaches, they're often less optimal. This is the effect of cognitive sameness.

Frequently asked questions

How do leaders foster successful teamwork in remote teams?

Fostering team success among remote teams may be more challenging, but it isn't impossible.

Here are some strategies for fostering successful teamwork in remote teams.

  • Establish clear communication channels, ensuring everyone knows how and when to connect.
  • Use video calls to enhance personal connections in team communication.
  • Set team goals and expectations, clarifying roles and responsibilities.
  • Encourage open communication, where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns.
  • Schedule regular team meetings to maintain connection and address challenges promptly.
  • Use collaboration tools and project management software to streamline workflow and maintain visibility on progress.
  • Recognize and celebrate achievements, even from a distance.
  • Cultivate a stronger sense of belonging through virtual team-building activities and social interactions.

How to build strong working relationships among remote employees?

It might be difficult to build strong working relationships among remote employees, but with a few adjustments, it's more than possible.

  • Build rituals. At F4S, we have weekly "Fri-Yay" drinks to celebrate our achievements, check in with each other, and bond as a team.
  • Encourage open and transparent communication to bridge physical distances. Foster trust through accountability and regular check-ins.
  • Consider the norms of your text-based communications. For example, our research has shown that the use of emojis at work heightens feelings of closeness and camaraderie in remote teams.

Organize virtual team-building activities to create shared experiences. Offer professional development in remote work skills and effective online communication

Driving effective teamwork with F4S

Looking to fully leverage your diverse team? F4S can help. We enable teams to unlock what makes each individual unique, giving leaders access to data on how best to lead and work with their people. Using our suite of tools for measuring motivations and benchmarking for success, we set teams up for success. Ready to unlock the power in your people and meet team goals? It all starts with a simple assessment. It's fast (and free)!

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Show References
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1. Christiano, A, Evolution of successful teamwork, available at: https://www.unco.edu/hss/anthropology/department-activities/uap/essays/evolution-successful-teammwork.pdf
2. Yong, J, 2020, From the Savannah to the Corporate Office: The Evolution of Teams, Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1046496420960516

3. Hoegl, M, 2008, Teamwork and Innovation, available at: https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/teamwork-innovative-projects-7108

4. Kandavel, R, 2018, Teamwork and its impacts on employee morale, available at: https://www.ijrar.org/papers/IJRAR1944351.pdf

5. Tohidi, H, 2011,Teamwork productivity & effectiveness in an organization base on rewards, leadership, training, goals, wage, size, motivation, measurement and information technology, available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050910005600

6. TeamStage, 2023, Importance of Collaboration in 2023, available at: https://teamstage.io/teamwork-statistics/#:~:text=Effective%20communication%20generates%204.5%20times,important%20for%2037%25%20of%20employees

7. Hagemann, V, 2017, Complex Problem Solving in Teams: The Impact of Collective Orientation on Team Process Demands, available at:
://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01730/full

8. Gibbons, B, 2010, Celebrating diversity in organizations: An analysis of workplace initiatives, available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/296746363_Celebrating_diversity_in_organizations_An_analysis_of_workplace_initiatives

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